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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TekSavvy files court challenge against CRTC’s rate-reversal as it awaits decision from Cabinet

ISP urges Liberal Government to quickly intervene: “The solution to this fiasco rests with Cabinet.”

June 29, 2021. Chatham, Ontario. TekSavvy Solutions Inc. (“TekSavvy”) yesterday filed a notice of motion with the Federal Court of Appeal, indicating it will seek leave to appeal the CRTC’s recent wholesale rates decision (Decision 2021-181). That decision stunned observers by reversing the CRTC’s own 2019 Final Rates Order, which had already been upheld by the Federal Court of Appeal and which the Federal Cabinet and the Supreme Court of Canada declined to review. Yesterday was the deadline for parties to challenge the CRTC’s reversal in court.

TekSavvy’s court filings refer to evidence filed in support of its Petition to the Liberal Government, a separate appeal where the company has asked Cabinet to quickly reinstate the CRTC’s evidence-based 2019 Final Rates Order and to remove CRTC Chair Ian Scott for bias. TekSavvy’s Petition notes that Mr. Scott held numerous ex parte meetings with big telecom lobbyists during the case and met one-on-one with Mirko Bibic, then Chief Operating Officer of Bell (and now CEO) at D’Arcy McGee’s, an Ottawa bar on December 19, 2019. The meeting occurred just one week after the CRTC opened an active file to hear Bell’s application to reverse the 2019 Final Rates Order, which the regulator recently arbitrarily approved.

TekSavvy told Cabinet that Mr. Scott’s private meeting with Bell, in the middle of a contentious proceeding with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, is offside the standards of conduct required by government for its appointees to the CRTC. This was confirmed by Cabinet’s termination of one Commissioner’s appointment for far less egregious conduct in 2017.[1] Both the Federal Court and Cabinet have explicitly recognized the concern of bias raised by ex parte meetings between Commissioners and stakeholders with open files before the CRTC - with the Federal Court describing such conduct as “very troubling.”

In yesterday’s court filing, TekSavvy argues the CRTC violated its right to procedural fairness and committed an error of law or jurisdiction when it scrapped its 2019 Final Rates Order by arbitrarily reverting to the much higher rates set in 2016 – the same rates the CRTC itself already determined to be grossly inflated. A spokesperson for TekSavvy said the company hopes the Liberal Government will intervene quickly and render the court proceeding moot.

“After years of litigation and delay, it is now clear that the solution to this fiasco rests with Cabinet. Cabinet must reinstate the CRTC’s pro-consumer 2019 Final Rates Order, which was based on years of process, mountains of evidence and withstood three challenges,” said Andy Kaplan-Myrth, TekSavvy’s VP of Regulatory and Carrier Affairs. “We also believe Cabinet must apply the same standards of conduct to Mr. Scott as it has to another Commissioner it terminated in the past. While we await Cabinet’s ruling, we will continue to use every legal means available to us to overturn the CRTC’s arbitrary, anti-consumer decision.”

About TekSavvy

Based in Chatham, Ontario, TekSavvy is Canada’s largest independent telecom service company, serving over 300,000 customers from coast to coast. TekSavvy has been proudly delivering award-winning services and fighting for consumers’ rights for more than 20 years. TekSavvy is committed to providing quality competitive choice and closing Canada’s digital divide.

For more information contact

Trevor Campbell,
The iPR Group 647-201-5409

John Settino,
The iPR Group 416-662-2955

media.relations@teksavvy.ca


[1]           Order in Council PC Number, May 5, 2017, available online